The medicinal use of garlic can be traced back thousands of years; The Ancient Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Babylonians and Hebrews all documented its therapeutic properties. Over the years, it has been used to treat all manner of conditions, including its fabled use in repelling vampires.
Nature’s Infection Fighter
Garlic is traditionally regarded as being particularly useful for infections affecting the respiratory tract such as sinusitis, mucous congestion (catarrh) and hayfever. It may also help the immune system to fight and reduce the duration of cold and flu symptoms. In the respiratory system, garlic is often used to assist with complaints such as colds (especially when recurrent), flu, ear infections and throat infections like tonsillitis. It is traditionally regarded as having expectorant properties so is also indicated for bronchitis and other respiratory conditions associated with excess mucus.
Garlic is also known to enhance immune system responses and research suggests that it may help to reduce frequency of colds, lessen their severity and speed up recovery.
Heart & Blood Vessel Protection
Clinical trials have shown that garlic may assist in the management of normal healthy cholesterol levels in healthy adults. It also mildly inhibits platelet aggregation, which may help maintain healthy blood viscosity (thickness). Taken together, along with its antioxidant properties, these actions mean that garlic may help maintain healthy blood vessels.
How does it work?
When garlic is chewed, crushed or chopped, a compound it contains called alliin is exposed to enzyme that converts it to secondary compounds called allicin and ajoene. These compounds and additional sulfur-containing compounds derived from them are believed to be responsible for the bulk of garlic’s medicinal effects.
How should I take garlic?
Garlic and related members of the Allium family of vegetables (such as onions, leeks, chives and shallots) deserve a place in your diet several times a week. Make sure you chop or crush the garlic before eating it so that it releases its potent medicinal compounds which are also largely responsible for garlic’s characteristic odour. Taking garlic supplements can be a valuable way to top up your dietary intake of garlic – an enteric-coated formula is the best option to choose if you’re keen to avoid having garlic breath.